Deconstructing Cravings from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition

The body is an amazing source of intelligence. It is always there for you, pumping blood, never skipping a heartbeat, digesting whatever food you put in it and maintaining homeostasis. Is this reliable, intelligent bio-computer making a mistake by craving ice cream or a hamburger or chocolate? Are cravings due to lack of will-power or discipline? I’d like to suggest that cravings are not a problem. They are critical pieces of information that tell you what your body needs.

 
The important thing is to understand why you crave what you crave. Perhaps your diet is too restrictive or devoid of essential nutrients. Perhaps you are living a lifestyle that is too boring or stressful. Your body tries to correct the imbalance by sending you a message: a craving. A craving for something sweet could mean you need more protein, more exercise, more water or more love in your life. The key to stopping the sugar craving is to understand and deliver what your body really needs.
 
No book or theory can tell you what to eat. Only awareness of your body and its needs can tell you. Of all the relationships in our lives, the one with our body is the most essential. It takes communication, love and time to cultivate a relationship with your body. As you learn to decipher and respond to your body’s cravings, you will create a deep and lasting level of health and balance.
 
The next time you have a craving, treat it as a loving message from your body instead of a weakness. Try these tips to respond to your body:
 

  • Have a glass of water and wait 10 minutes.

  • Eat a healthier version of what you crave. For example, if you crave sweets, try eating more fruit and sweet or root vegetables.

  • What is out of balance in your life? Is there something you need to express, or is something being repressed? What happened in your life just before you had this craving?

  • When you eat the food you are craving, enjoy it, taste it, savor it; notice its effect. Then you will become more aware and free to decide if you really want it next time.  

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Pranayama Practices

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Pranayama is a Sanskrit word made up of two halves, “prana” and “yama” or “ayama” which means life force.

According to the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Pranayama is the art and science of yogic breathing techniques, producing  the benefits of physical well-being, lightness of heart, clarity of mind, inner and outer health and fulfillment and believe it or not, weight loss.  There is a wonderful article on prayanama practices published on the Kripalu Institute website.

The following breathing exercises can help to produce the results listed above.

Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing) Gently exhale all of your air, then close your right nostril with your thumb and inhale slowly and deeply through your left nostril.  Next, close your left nostril with your ring finger and exhale slowly and gently through your right nostril.  Inhale through your right nostril and continue alternate nostril breathing for 10 rounds,  eventually increasing to 40 rounds.

Kapala Bati (Skull Shining)  Inhale and exhale quickly and lightly through both nostrils and emphasize  and then exhale completely. Emphasize the exhalation and let the inhale come as natural reflex.  You will want to practice 3 rounds of 30 exhalations building to 10
rounds of 60.  Make sure to rest and breathe naturally between rounds

Mantras

Inhale – Koham (Who am I)
Retention – Soham (I am that)
Exhale – Noham (I am not this)

7 Day Detox Program

The Pranayama Practices are included in preparation for the Strengthen, Nourish, and Evolve 7-Day Detox Program.

Check out Lisa’s Lentils for details!